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Friday, 17 April 2015

Pesky poles





Of course we need light, electricity and telephone poles to enable us to enjoy a comfortable modern lifestyle, but they do have rather a habit of getting into photos that would look better without them.  I've recently been going through some of my late father-in-law Bob Featherston's old negatives from the 1940s and scanning them to computer on a fairly basic little device and have come across a few examples that I thought I would put up here. The first three photos come from Bob's time in Canada when he was sent there for pilot training in 1941, prior to serving in the RAF flying Lancaster bombers in WW1. It was in the area of Jasper in the Rocky Mountains and it all looks pretty cold and bleak. There are quite a few interesting shots of people in uniform enjoying themselves in what for many of the Australians at least was very probably  their first experience of snow, but I'll save those for another time. Meanwhile the poles in these shots stand out. Sometimes they can be hard to avoid!




                              





A view of Ottawa with a light pole and wires taking prime position.



Another example from Bob's negative collection, this time from post war England, A solitary ubiquitous pole stands sentinel beside bombed out buildings in Southampton.  The sign in the church refers to 'A Prayer for Our Nation'. Some of the older negatives were too big to fit in the scanner holder, so I've had to divide them into two, as here, and I don't presently have a program that will join them up neatly. but here they are separately:





Bob met Mary in England after the war and at 21 she ventured out to Australia aboard a ship full of English war brides. They were married a few weeks after she arrived in the country, at the Yarra Street Methodist Church in Geelong on 25 January 1947. I really like this shot of them outside the church, but it is a pity the photographer got that pole practically in the centre of the frame, looking like it is virtually attached to Mary's head, and the spire of a distant church is also a little unfortunately positioned, but they don't really detract from the happiness of the couple. Young Mary will celebrate her 90th birthday in July.  Bob passed away in 1992, but if he were still with us he would have been turning 98 a couple of weeks later.


For more related blogs on this topic, just click here to go to Sepia Saturday #275, but watch out for any pesky poles that may well get in your way!








12 comments:

  1. That pole in the centre of the photo tells a story which you may have missed, During the war lamp and telegraph poles near to the carriageway were painted with white band so that, when driving without lights in the blackout, you did not drive into them. A lamp post round the corner from my house survived with these stripes until a few years ago. I often wondered if I should persuade the Council to 'list' it, our mecahnics for preserving historic buildings and street scene, but sadly I was too slow and suddenly all the lamp posts were renewed.

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    1. A very interesting fact, thanks for pointing it out. I suppose they can't preserve everything in England that is of historic significance.

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  2. I have a dislike of poles but I find pylons a terrible blot on the landscape - both necessary evils as you say. How wonderful that you have access to Bob's collection of negatives and I look forward to seeing lots more. (other) Jo :-)

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  3. A nice take on the theme photo, Jo. Bob's photos are interesting and I look forward to seeing more.
    Nigel's comment about the white band shows how important the old sepia photos are, even if they show pesky poles.

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  4. Bob & Mary's wedding photo is lovely - power pole & church spires notwithstanding. And how clever of someone to think of painting part of the power poles white so they wouldn't be run into during a blackout.

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  5. Jo, I was laughing out loud when you commented that they can't preserve everything in England of historical significance. I immediately saw people wading through markers, climbing over ruins of this and that (which I understand does happen occasionally,) from horizon to horizon!

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  6. Normally I wouldn't even notice the poles - too busy looking at the other things in the photos. Some bleak looking country in some of the photos. Most interesting.

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  7. It is funny how we come to accept things that are right there all the time, but we seldom see them. Until perhaps they're gone! Great old time photos. Thanks!

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  8. I enjoyed your approach to the theme. Now, you could photoshop out the pole from Bob and Mary's photo but I guess it wouldn't have the same historical accuracy? As we sit and look at these old photos enlarging them and looking for details you realize how some of the background stuff provides so much information about the times and places.

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  9. As a long time practitioner of the art, I can confirm that it's impossible to avoid those pesky poles and wires all the time. I've come to the conclusion that, apart from resorting to Photoshop, the trick is to use them to your advantage, tricky as it is to make them an integral part of the picture.

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  10. In some of my really old photos, I notice the total absence of poles, and I began to wonder when electricity came to those homes. But I just couldn't get a post together on that single thought. Your approach is so much more interesting.

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  11. Love the shot of the fellas playing in the snow. And at least now that telephone between the bride and groom can be easily removed.

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